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30 Mar 2017

Third Class Graduate, yet an Excellent Leader

“Son, I made sure I married an intelligent woman just be assured that you have the brain to face complex academic challenges, as you’re leaving for school, don’t just come back with only first Class, come home a full man”, I will tell my son as he prepares to fly back to school. (For emphasis, research has shown that intelligence of a child is exclusively from the mother)

It is amazing to read that Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, recognized as one of "Africa's 20 Most Powerful People in 2012" by Forbes Magazine, actually graduated with Third Class. Are you serious?

I’m not kidding here….

Gani fawehinmi, a man whose one-off scholarship saved my academics back in 2012, also graduated 3rd class, yet to graduate with First Class as a Law student in Nigeria Universities, you need his law books. Wow, a paradox!

Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian playwright and poet, awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honored in that category, also graduated with a third Class… What?  Someone must be joking somewhere!

A young lady, extremely brilliant, a girl I respect so much once ask for my advice on business related issue, in the course of my advice I made a comment, “Everything is not all about reading and sometimes you have to make out time for other things”. Behold, she flared up and that was how we lost communication, maybe permanently. Most probably, she erroneously thought I was encroaching into her excellent academic pursuit.

It is not surprising that most CEO of big firms and founders of big corporations are in these category of Third Class Graduate, yet they make decisions on how to hire the best first class candidate for each specialized Job. This factor has intrigued me for such a long time and I have read heavily on these issues. From my research, I discovered that there are skills which you need to develop if you really want to be a household name. These are abilities, you eagerly need to possess.

It is appalling that our education system is structured in such a way that you need to sacrifice the time which should be dedicated in acquiring this skill, on the first Class alter.

I am not in any way writing against pursuing academic excellence. One on core value is being excellent in any activities I find myself. But the essence of this writing is to let you know that there are certain things you must not sacrificed just because you want to be a First class material.

I was working on an article yesterday, as I asked myself a question, "what is the number one skill a fresh graduate need to possess for greater career success?". Well, the answer is communication skill, but the most amazing skill a person should strive to acquire is leadership skill.

Being an excellent leader which is impossible without developing your communication skill, can take you places a First Class Certificate can’t.

Someone may ask, “Is it possible to acquire this leadership cum communication skills and still fight for first class?” Well, on the premise that “all thing are possible to them that believe”, it is 100% possible. But if you have to choose between being a first class material with no leadership prowess or an excellent leadership candidate, choose the later.

This advice is not for everyone. God bless

My name is Raphael Nweke, and I just want to make you better.


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